[...] is it eclecticism that has popularised the label "British music"?5 It may be understandable that English newspapers (with their obvious readership in mind) also 'tended not to use the "British" adjective in cultural matters',6 but any discussion of 'national' in the meaning of ' British' music would certainly have to bear such a potential divergence in mind.7 The term 'English musical renaissance' was apparently first used by Joseph Bennett, chief critic of The Daily Telegraph, in a review of the premiere performance of Hubert Parry's First Symphony, at the 1882 Birmingham Festival: 'Mr Parry's Symphony [...] is a capital proof that English music has arrived at a renaissance period'.8 A lecture entitled 'The musical renaissance in England ', given by Morton Latham at Cambridge in June 1888, took up this concept, which was explored to a fuller extend in his 1890 book, The renaissance of music. Only now there was no longer any need for a theatre 'wishing to purvey drama to trick up a play with some sort of incidental music and pretend it was a burletta in order not to offend the monopoly of the patent theatres.'49 It is obvious that Oscar Schmitz was wrong in his assumption that England was a 'Land without music' - and though he may not have originally intended his book to be a political statement, it was, of course, later used and mis-used as a means of propaganda, even in the early months of the second World War.50 Nevertheless, Schmitz had touched a sensitive nerve in British self-understanding.
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"Chasing a myth and a legend: 'The British musical renaissance' in a 'Land without music'"Please download to view full document